MADRID: Zinedine Zidane has made a sensational return as coach of Real Madrid after Santiago Solari’s sacking was finally confirmed on Monday.Zidane has been given a contract until June 2022, just nine months after he resigned at the end of last season, having led Madrid to a historic third consecutive Champions League triumph.Solari’s dismissal was expected after three consecutive home defeats — to Barcelona, twice, and Ajax — deemed Madrid’s season all-but over before the middle of March.But Zidane coming back, with only 11 games left in La Liga and almost nothing to play for, is a surprise, particularly after he left on the incredible high of yet another European triumph.“Real Madrid’s board has decided to terminate Santiago Solari’s contract as coach of the first team,” read an official statement on Monday.“Real Madrid appreciates the work done by Santiago Solari and the commitment and loyalty he has always shown to this club.“The board has also agreed to the appointment of Zinedine Zidane as the new coach of Real Madrid with immediate effect for the remainder of the season and the next three, until June 30, 2022.”
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JEDDAH: Saudi sides Al-Ahli and Al-Ittihad returned to action on Monday for Matchday Four of group stage play in the AFC Champions League 2019. Ahli defeated Persepolis FC of Iran 2-1 in a Group D match thanks to Omar Al-Somah who struck twice on minutes 30 and 84 at the Al Maktoum Stadium in Dubai. The…
JEDDAH: Saudi sides Al-Ahli and Al-Ittihad returned to action on Monday for Matchday Four of group stage play in the AFC Champions League 2019.
Ahli defeated Persepolis FC of Iran 2-1 in a Group D match thanks to Omar Al-Somah who struck twice on minutes 30 and 84 at the Al Maktoum Stadium in Dubai.
The Iranians avoided a shutout when Shoja Khalilzadeh scored in the third minute of injury time.
The victory avenged a 2-0 defeat on Matchday Three against Persepolis and gave the Jeddah-based Ahli 6 points in the group with Persopolis on 4 points.
Ittihad, another Jeddah-based club playing away to PFC Lokomotiv in Tashkent, Uzbekhistan, settled for a 1-1 draw in the Group B match.
Ittihad won their last match against 10-man Lokomotiv on Matchday Three behind a penalty goal in injury time by Fahad Al-Muwallad.
On Monday, winger Al-Muwallad was again in good form, his 10th minute corner kick finding Brazilian forward Romario Ricardo da Silva who converted for the match icebreaker.
Temurkhodzha Abdulklholiqov tallied the equalizer for the hosts eight minutes before the halftime break. Lokomotiv team captain Islom Tukhtakhodjaev was shown the red card in the 75th minute. The result had Ittihad on seven points in Group B from four matches and Lokomotiv on four points.
Ahli triumph, Ittihad draw in AFC Champions League
ROME :The breakthrough under Alex Ferguson at Manchester United. Then the coronation at Real Madrid. And now another title at Juventus. If ever there was a need to emphasize Cristiano Ronaldo’s impact as a footballer, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner did it again this weekend by helping Juventus to the Serie A title in his…
ROME :The breakthrough under Alex Ferguson at Manchester United. Then the coronation at Real Madrid. And now another title at Juventus.
If ever there was a need to emphasize Cristiano Ronaldo’s impact as a footballer, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner did it again this weekend by helping Juventus to the Serie A title in his first season in Italy.
In doing so, the 34-year-old Ronaldo became the first player in history to win league titles in the English Premier League (with United), the Spanish league (Madrid) and Serie A (Juventus).
“I’m very happy to have won in England, Spain and now the league title in Italy as well,” Ronaldo said. “It meant a lot to me and it means a lot to us as a team.”
Other players have won titles in three of the five major European leagues (England, Spain, Italy, Germany and France) but nobody had previously put together the combination of England, Spain and Italy.
David Beckham played in four of the top leagues but only won titles at United (six), Madrid (one) and Paris Saint-Germain (one), having failed to lift the Serie A trophy during his two loan spells at AC Milan.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic won four Serie A titles (three with Inter Milan and one with AC Milan), the Spanish league with Barcelona and four French championships with PSG.
Brazil fullback Maxwell was on many of those same teams as Ibrahimovic and also won in Italy, Spain and France.
Then there was Arjen Robben, who won the Premier League twice with Chelsea before adding a Spanish title at Real Madrid and seven Bundesliga trophies at Bayern Munich.
Another Dutchman who achieved the feat was Mark van Bommel, with titles with Barcelona, Bayern Munich (two) and AC Milan.
While Juventus also won the league in the seven seasons before Ronaldo’s arrival, there was no doubting his impact in Turin. With 19 goals and six assists in 27 Italian league matches this season, Ronaldo played a part in nearly 40 percent of Juventus’ goals.
So it came as no surprise when his dangerous cross from a sharp angle was redirected in by a defender as an own-goal for the winner in Juve’s 2-1 win over Fiorentina on Saturday — giving the Bianconeri more than the single point they needed to secure a record-extending eighth straight title with five rounds remaining.
It’s the sixth league title of Ronaldo’s career.
The first came as a 22-year-old at United, ending a four-year drought for Ferguson’s squad as Ronaldo scored 17 goals — three fewer than Didier Drogba’s league-best 20.
That was just a warmup for what came next.
In 2007-08, Ronaldo led the Premier League with 31 goals and helped United to the league title and the Champions League trophy.
Another Premier League title came the following season as Ronaldo finished second in the scoring charts with 18 goals, behind only Nicolas Anelka, who had 19 for Chelsea.
While Ronaldo won only two Spanish league championships in his nine seasons at Madrid, he also helped the team to four Champions League trophies — including three consecutive European titles over the last three seasons.
When Juventus acquired Ronaldo in a €100 million ($112 million) transfer last year, the expectation was that he would help end the club’s long chase for a Champions League trophy.
Ronaldo did his part by scoring a hat trick to overturn a first-leg deficit against Atletico Madrid in the opening knockout round and goals in both legs of the quarterfinals against Ajax but the Bianconeri were still eliminated by the Dutch club.
“Next year is a new page, the fans all want it and so do we,” Ronaldo said. “It is an important trophy, but it’s difficult to (win).”
A Champions League title with Juventus would enable Ronaldo to match another multiple nation and multiple team record — joining Clarence Seedorf as the only players to win the trophy with three different clubs.
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Four-star Everton pile on the agony for Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer LIVERPOOL: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s problems since taking over as permanent Manchester United manager intensified with a humiliating 4-0 loss away to Everton on Sunday.Defeat at Goodison Park — United’s sixth in eight games — also dealt a huge blow to the Red…
Four-star Everton pile on the agony for Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
LIVERPOOL: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s problems since taking over as permanent Manchester United manager intensified with a humiliating 4-0 loss away to Everton on Sunday.Defeat at Goodison Park — United’s sixth in eight games — also dealt a huge blow to the Red Devils’ hopes of playing in the Champions League next season.Goals from Richarlison, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Lucas Digne and Theo Walcott inflicted the largest defeat on United since they lost by the same scoreline at Chelsea three years ago.But, after starting his reign with eight consecutive victories, the best start ever made by a manager at the club, former United striker Solskjaer is now collecting some other, very unwanted, statistics.This latest loss means United have now leaked 48 league goals, the most they’ve conceded in a season, since letting in 63 back in the 42-game 1978/79 campaign.Sunday’s loss also means United have conceded in 12 consecutive games for the first time since December 1998 while, under Solskjaer, the Reds have lost five consecutive away games for the first time in 38 years.United looked second best even before the hosts scored twice inside the opening half-hour, conceding a succession of corners from which Everton threatened.It was another type of set-piece, a long throw-in by Digne, from which Everton took the lead after 12 minutes when the full-back launched the ball deep into the United area.Dominic Calvert-Lewin helped the ball on with the flick of his head and Richarlison sent a spectacular scissor-kick finish flying past David de Gea.After a humbling 3-0 Champions League exit at Barcelona in midweek, it was not the start Solskjaer had been looking for. Everton soon made the situation worse for the visitors.After 27 minutes, Everton cleared a United corner and immediately broke on the counter-attack, with winger Bernard playing a delightful ball inside to Idrissa Gueye.He, in turn, released Sigurdsson who, with Nemanja Matic backing off, unleashed a magnificent 25-yard shot which bounced just in front of the diving de Gea on its way into the bottom corner.Richarlison might have given Everton the lead even earlier. His 10th minute shot drew an amazing reaction save from de Gea. From the rebound the Brazilian hurried his follow-up effort wide.With the recalled Romelu Lukaku booed every time he touched the ball by his former fans at Everton, United had little response to an impressive effort from the home side.In between the goals, United star Paul Pogba’s long diagonal pass freed Marcus Rashford who could only poke his effort over from a tight angle.Everton effectively killed the game in the 56th minute. De Gea punched clear a Sigurdsson corner to the unmarked Digne who sent a superb, first-time volley flying back past the United keeper from 20 yards.Three minutes later, and from the same left wing, another Sigurdsson corner almost crept in at de Gea’s near post before the Spaniard stuck out a boot to clear off his line.Even though Richarlison had limped off through injury, the agony was not over for United with the Brazilian’s replacement Walcott continuing the rout in the 64th minute.Sigurdsson again carved out the opening with a brilliantly-timed through ball which allowed the former England international the space to sprint into the area and beat the advancing de Gea.Not until the 86th minute, and a comfortably saved Anthony Martial strike, did United have a shot on target.Meanwhile Everton, who had not beaten a ‘big six’ rival in 25 attempts before last month, have now won consecutive home matches against Chelsea, Arsenal and United while keeping three clean sheets in the process.